Wednesday, August 18, 2010

“Dude, Where’s my Bar?”

Agency: Threshold Interactive
Client: Nestle

Bart Simpson was known for his famous tagline, “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.” But after the Bart Simpson era waned, so too did the brand’s strength. Competitors were outselling Butterfinger 10 to 1. The brand was flat and losing share.

So in 2009, Nestle Butterfinger reintroduced the well-known tagline, sans Simpson. The Butterfinger audience is a contest-driven crowd. Given that, and the fact that Threshold had a limited budget to work with, they created an alternate reality game (ARG) to get consumers involved. With new spokesperson Seth Green, they created a real life story of Green’s missing Butterfinger and engaged consumers to find it.

The narrative thread was told through 14 original videos, a seeding strategy for mass market press, celebrity gossip sites, entertainment media, the ARG community, two websites: and, social and rich media plans, as well as six different games and puzzles that unrolled over a three-week period starting on October 13, 2009 and ending with a big reveal on Halloween.

The “Dude, Where’s My Bar?” ARG was designed with three parts. The first was an introduction of Green as the new spokesperson; the second included two video tapes, the first one of a rant Green went on when he walked off the set of a movie; the second one of Green out in the parking lot cooling off when he is attacked and his vintage Butterfinger bar that his grandfather gave him and that at one time belonged to Simpson himself, is stolen.

In the third phase, Green makes a public service announcement asking consumers to help him find his stolen vintage Butterfinger bar using the ARG at A ransom note is seeded to the press from his evil twin brother posing the threat of destroying the bar if the ransom isn’t paid by midnight on Halloween.

Retail was integrated into the storyline when Green’s brother released 100,000 free vintage style Butterfinger bars to Circle K.

A a result of the new campaign, Butterfinger increased share 5%, while dollar growth increased 10%. The campaign earned over 160 million media impressions, more than six times the goal.